Two Years In the Making – Cotati to Rohnert Park

Two years? Really to get from Cotati to Rohnert Park?

Yes, and it’s less than 2 miles.

Let’s start at the beginning July 2013. This sign explains that it’s all connected. In time or in Laguna.

Laguna all connectedWhen you think of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, you may think of that place between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. But the Laguna drains 254 square miles of the Santa Rosa plain into the Russian River. It’s this ‘creek’ that is called Laguna de Santa Rosa.

We started our walk at Ladybug Park in Cotati on Liman Way in Cotati. It’s a small park with picnic tables, playground, ball park, tennis courts and an elementary school.

Ladybug Park CotatiWe’d heard there was a trail on the far side of the park. We bumbled around to find the trailhead and went south along the dry creek  for a while before we turned around. Much of the trail is narrow dirt path as it heads west.

Laguna trail from LadybugThe trail curves between the creek and Loretto Ave., there are some pocket parks with drought tolerant gardens. Access to the trail could be made from the neighborhood and from a bridge at Eagle Dr and Lakewood. The creek has been restored with native plants such as oaks, snowberries, dogwood, spice bush and wild rose.

snowberry lagunadogwood lagunaWhen the path curves north, we noticed a park across the creek. Turns out it is Helen Putnam Park with a ball field – but not the Helen Putnam Regional Park with the hill. (Ms. Putnam was County Supervisor and Petaluma mayor for a long time.)

Helen PutnamRestoring this creek is a big project. I saw a sign somewhere that credited the City of Cotati, Cotati Creek Critters, Laguna Foundation, Sonoma County Water Agency and the State of California.

spice bushWe made our way to this point and got near E Cotati Ave – but got confused where to go next. The creek or the trail seemed to peter out. And that’s why it took another year to complete. Okay?

Almost E CotatiSo now it is November 2014. We parked on the north side of E. Cotati on Arthur St. and walked to the creek. There’s a big crossing from creek trail to creek trail. Now we saw it. Can you? By the white car zooming on E. Cotati?

Arthur to E CotatiOn this section of the creek trail, it’s a little narrow and uneven. In a short distance we went from busy road to busy woods.

Bridge near E CotatiThen a neighborhood and small park.

playground near E CotatiMuch of trail is backyard fences but the plantings of snowberry, elderberry and rose continue. Where we saw blossoms and blooms on the trail a year ago, these are newer plants.

Laguna neighborhood trailA few locals were on the trail. It seems a convenient way to get from dead-end/cul-de-sacs to the shopping areas nearby. This is at Gravenstein Way, another access point. The path is then wider and more even.

Gravenstein WayWe enjoyed the fall colors. A beautiful sky.

on the way to 101 11-14 beautiful sky 11-14 random vineThe roar of Hwy 101 increased. The creek went on. The mallards played. We crossed Commerce Blvd. We crossed a foot bridge.

bridge near Rohnert ParkThe creek was clear and beautiful, even in a culvert to go under Hwy 101.

laguna de Santa Rosa creekWe came face to face with Hwy 101. The redwoods saved us.

Hwy 101And then the iconic sign.

Rohnert Park signThe path continues to Enterprise, but we stopped. One way, it’s about 1 mile from E. Cotati to this sign. Overall from Ladybug Park, it would be over 1.65 mile. And it is all perfectly flat.

In summary? I think it took us two years to finish this trail because though we love that the restoration has gone on – it’s still basically a backyard fenced walk. Not our favorite. If I lived there, I would certainly use the path to get from one place to another and would want to have a view of it. But would I go out of my way to walk there? No. Unless I wanted some native plant pictures.

My suggestion to you? Give it a try. Walk in late spring or summer when the plants are blooming. Go on a beautiful day.  Here’s a map. Tell me what you think.

See you on the trail!

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn and Mike Millar




Published by Lynn Millar

Walker, reader, writer, traveller - see About Walking

4 thoughts on “Two Years In the Making – Cotati to Rohnert Park

    1. Thanks for the comment. More trails? Certainly. I’m always finding new ones (or new to me.) The county and other groups (including bicyclists) have made great strides in more trails and improvements. I have hundreds of posts on county trails – or parts of them.

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